Visa yesterday announced the addition of three athletes who make up the Nigerian Women's Bobsled Team to Team Visa, currently training to become the first ever African representatives, men or women, to qualify for the Olympic Winter Games in the sport of Bobsled. Together, Bobsled pilot Seun Adigun, and brakemen Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga, combine their elite track backgrounds to chase their bobsled dreams.
Without access to proper training equipment or valuable ice time to perfect their skills, the members of the Nigerian Women's Bobsled Team started their journey on the snow-less grounds of Houston, Texas, in a wooden sled they nicknamed 'The Maeflower.'
Once the team set their sights on the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, they established a crowdfunding website hoping to raise the much-needed funds to get to PyeongChang. Upon discovering the page, Visa was inspired by their story and determination to carve out a place in history and pledged to help solidify the team's trip to the Olympic Winter Games.
"When we first heard their story we recognized the collective spirit of these athletes as a perfect fit for Team Visa," said Chris Curtin, chief brand and innovation marketing officer at Visa. "By joining Team Visa, we hope to provide this group of determined athletes with a global stage to tell their story and inspire athletes all over the world to follow their dreams and never give up."
The athleticism and determination of each member of the Nigerian Women's Bobsled Team is palpable, as they push to rewrite history in their sport.
Seun Adigun, the Bobsled Driver, represented Nigeria in the 100m hurdles at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Wanting to get back on the Olympic stage, she began training for bobsled in 2014.
Ngozi Onwumere, the Bobsled Breakmen is a former competitive sprinter, who clinched a silver and gold medal at the 2015 African Games in Republic of the Congo in the 200m and 4x100m relay, respectively. Onwumere started training after being recruited by Adigun in 2016.
Akuoma Omeoga is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where she was a sprinter for the university's track and field team, competing in the 100m and 200m races. The Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 will be the first time she is representing Nigeria.
"Already the support and encouragement we have felt as part of Team Visa has been a dream come true," said Seun Adigun, driver of the Nigerian Women's Bobsled Team. "We are proud to be part of a team that shares our mission and has connected us with the resources we needed to reach our goal, and hopefully empower others to do the same."
Since the programme began in 2000, Team Visa has supported over 400 Olympic and Paralympic Athletes and hopefuls by providing them with the tools, resources and support they need to reach their highest potential, regardless of origin or background. Team Visa features a diverse group of Olympic and Paralympic athletes who embody its core values - acceptance, partnership and innovation - and was cultivated with the global reach of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in mind.
The Nigerian Women's Bobsled Team joins Team Visa's diverse roster of athletes, which includes Mikaela Shiffrin (USA), Chloe Kim (USA), Gus Kenworthy (USA), Hilary Knight (USA), Oksana Masters (USA), Mark McMorris (Canada), Lee Sang-Hwa (South Korea) and Kamil Stoch (Poland), among others.